May 17, 2019 / 7:41 AM / a month ago

China stocks post 4th straight weekly fall as trade tensions reignite

* Shanghai shares, blue chips both fall 2.5%, down w-o-w

* U.S. sanctions Huawei, Chinese media toughens trade war tone

* State planner admits tariff impact, says ‘controllable’

* Yuan pares some losses, Reuters reports PBOC to defend key level

HONG KONG, May 17 (Reuters) - China’s stock market closed lower on Friday, clocking the fourth consecutive weekly loss, largely due to re-escalating trade tensions as Washington blacklisted Chinese tech company Huawei.

** The Shanghai Composite index was down fell 2.5% to 2,882.30, losing 1.9% for the week. The blue-chip CSI300 index also lost 2.5% on Friday, accumulating weekly losses of 2.2%. ** CSI300’s financial sector sub-index was lower by 2.3%, the consumer staples sector lost 2.6%, the real estate index slid 3% and the healthcare sub-index fell 2.5%. ** The smaller Shenzhen index shed 3.3% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 3.6%. ** China’s state planner said on Friday trade frictions with the United States has had some impact on China’s economy, but it was “controllable” and countermeasures would be rolled out when needed to “keep economic operations within reasonable range”. ** The comments came after China reported surprisingly weaker growth in retail sales and industrial output for April this week. ** Trade tensions worsened this week after the Trump administration officially added China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to a trade blacklist, immediately enacting restrictions that will make it extremely difficult for the telecoms giant to do business with U.S. companies. ** Chinese media is toughening its rhetoric in the trade war with the United States, evoking patriotism and past wars to rally support at home. ** A Reuters story saying the People’s Bank of China will not let the yuan weaken past the 7 per dollar psychological level in mid-afternoon trade lifted the Chinese currency. The offshore yuan rebounded 100 points to 6.93 per dollar. ** The offshore yuan dropped earlier to its lowest since November 30, 2018, passing the 6.94 per dollar handle and erased all gains since the Chinese and U.S. presidents met at the G20 in Argentina. The onshore yuan also hit its lowest since December. ** “The renminbi has been really weak,” said Alex Wong, a director and fund manager at Ample Finance Group in Hong Kong. “People, in general, are more bullish towards U.S. assets in a trade war environment. The dollar has been strong recently and that is hurting emerging markets.” ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.7%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.9%. ** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Jiangsu SOPO Chemical Co Ltd down 10.1%, followed by Dongfeng Electronic Technology Co Ltd and Shenzhen Kingdom SCI-Tech Co Ltd, both down by 10%. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 15.6% and the CSI300 has risen 21.2%. Shanghai stocks have declined 6.4% this month, whlie the CSI300 lost 6.8% in the same period. ** About 26.63 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange. The volume in the previous trading session was 24.84 billion.

Reporting by Noah Sin; editing by Rashmi Aich

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